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Paleobiogeographic Distribution of Kuylisporites and Its Possible Relationship to the Extant Fern Genus Cnemidaria (Cyatheaceae)

Barbara A. R. Mohr and David B. Lazarus
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 81, No. 4 (1994), pp. 758-767
DOI: 10.2307/2399920
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2399920
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Paleobiogeographic Distribution of Kuylisporites and Its Possible Relationship to the Extant Fern Genus Cnemidaria (Cyatheaceae)
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Abstract

The fossil spore genus Kuylisporites contains four species, of which K. mirabilis, K. separatus, and K. scutatus seem to be restricted to the Cretaceous and Paleogene of the Northern Hemisphere. The fourth species, K. waterbolkii, a spore that has identical features with the spore of the extant fern genus Cnemidaria, has been found exclusively in Tertiary to Holocene sediments of the Southern Hemisphere, with a trend to increasing restriction to the Neotropics. Kuylisporites waterbolkii has been found in the southern Gondwanan realm from the Early Eocene through early Miocene. New occurrences of K. waterbolkii, in middle Eocene sediments from the South Orkney area (Antarctica), link the Paleogene Australian and South American distribution. Between the late Eocene and Oligocene, when dramatic glacial cooling took place, K. waterbolkii migrated north. In Australia, where climatic deterioration was balanced by northward drift, K. waterbolkii persisted until the early Miocene. Increasing drought in Australia during the Neogene led, however, to its extinction. In South America the distribution area shifted from high latitudes during the Eocene, when climatic conditions there were warm to temperate, to low latitudes during the Oligocene. From the Oligocene on K. waterbolkii has been found exclusively in an area that overlaps with the area of extant Cnemidaria, which lives mostly in (sub)montane forests in tropical Central/South America and the Antilles. Morphological identity and overlapping paleobiogeographic distribution from the Miocene on suggest that K. waterbolkii can be correlated with spores of extant Cnemidaria. If this is the case, the Recent area of distribution of Cnemidaria must be considered to be a relict area.

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